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Not So Different: Live-Action TV
  • Friends: While enjoying their new recliners, Chandler and Joey watch Beavis And Butthead; most of the scene involves the boys laughing just like the duo on TV.
    • Janice is grating on all of the friends and they all dread seeing her and even hearing her voice. In short, she annoys them. However, in the short time that Ross dated Janice, Ross' constant whining and complaining managed to get the annoying Janice to be annoyed with Ross' negativity. This completely shocks Ross and he lampshades it:
    Ross: I annoy YOU? Janice?
    • Chandler realizes this about him and Mr. Heckles in TOW Heckles Dies.
    • In "The One With the Morning After", in an effort to cover up his trail from Chloe (with whom he'd had an affair) to Rachel, Ross speaks with Chloe's co-worker, Issac, who is more than eager to help Ross.
    Ross: Listen, can you keep this information to yourself?
    Issac: Aw, no problem dude. Y'know we got to look out for each other. We’re the same, you and me.
    Ross: Actually, no, we’re not.
    Issac: Yeah, we are.
    Ross: No, we’re not.
    Issac: Yeah, we are.
    Ross: No, we’re not!!
    Issac: Okay, we’re not.
    Ross: Right.
    Issac: But, we are.
    Ross: Fine.
  • A subversion in Glee, where everyone in the glee club is subject to the rest of the members' criticism and bullying despite the fact that the club is meant to be a kind of refuge for the school's oddballs from the rest of the student body's harrasment.
    • Rachel gets the worst of it. Although she's completely obnoxious and egotistical, she's always trying to motivate the glee club to do better: For her own gain. But she does genuinely care about the well being of her club's members.
      Rachel: Can I ask you guys something?
      Santana: Yes, you should move to Israel.
    • But also played straight - Kurt is bullied by homophobes, but is himself a biphobe.
  • In Heroes Sylar tries to prove this to Claire...using a score-card. His reasoning has some holes in shall we say.
    • Almost every character on the show can be or has been compared to Sylar or another Big Bad in some way, shape, or form.
      • Sylar compared Matt to himself multiple times.
      • Peter and Sylar had this a few times as well. It usually ends with them punching each other's lights out.
      • Sylar and Angela Petrelli: he said that he now had a new level of evil to aspire to. No, really.
      • HGR is usually compared to a villain — most often Sylar, but it depends on his current location on the Sliding Scale of Graytones. (We should have one of those.)
      • Hiro Nakamura and Adam Monroe/Takezo Kensei: See the Volume 5 episode which shows Hiro in a symbolic courtroom with his father (whom he failed to save from an unhappy end at the hands of Kensei himself) as the judge and Monroe/Takezo as the prosecutor and would-be executioner. Sylar, amusingly enough, was a witness.
      • Nathan by Sylar.
    • Claire and Elle as well, which has been noted by Word of God. They are both superhuman with fathers involved in the Company, but whereas Claire's father did everything to protect her and shield her from it, Elle's father raised her in it.
  • On Andromeda, whenever Dylan does something underhanded to accomplish his goals, a nearby Nietzschean will point out that he "would have made a good Nietzschean".
  • Recurring element of Lex's relationship with his father in Smallville.
    Clark: I won't let you kill anyone else.
    Clark: You and I are more alike than you think.
    "The problem is Kal-El, you and I aren't very different. We were both created in one way or another by Jor-El, both intended to save civilizations, to bring peace to a brutal world. But neither was immune to corruption to darkness."
  • Supernatural:
    • Michael and Lucifer lecture Dean and Sam about this, who are their respective vessels. Michael tell Dean that he is dutifully obedient to his father (God), that he cast Lucifer down because he defied him, and that he practically raised his younger brother, taking care of him "in a way most people could never understand". Lucifer tells Sam that he loved and idolized his older brother and begged him to stand alongside him in refusing to bow down to humanity, but that Michael instead called him a "freak" and a "monster", casting him down because he was different and had a mind of his own.
    • Dean receives this speech from a demon he has trapped in the season 3 episode "Sin City". She notices him invoking God, and explains that many demons have the same faith in Lucifer that many humans have in their god(s). When Dean calls her kind evil, she points out that in the twentieth century humans killed so many of each other that even demons were surprised. Appealing to Dean more personally, she tells him that hell sucks for everybody, and why does he think demons want to come back to earth? Dean actually seems to feel some sympathy with this particular demon by the time Sam kills her, which definitely goes against the grain for him considering his shoot first mentality with most evil creatures.
    • Eve gives this speech about herself and their mother in "Mommy Dearest".
  • Done both ways in Gilmore Girls, even though it's an unusual trope for that genre. Paris and Rory move for the first time away from being rivals after a "good" Not So Different moment. Lorelai is occasionally unhinged after experiencing a "bad" Not So Different moment with her controlling mother.
    • On a road trip with Lorelai, Rory, and Emily, Rory watches her mum and grandma in two adjoining rooms getting ready for bed; they're both in front of a mirror and both make the exact same movements patting nightcream under their eyes, then stepping back to view the result. Rory, slightly creeped out, says "Behold my future!" to Lorelai. When Lorelai realizes she's just totally carbon-copied her mum, she freaks!
  • The first two appearances of the Daleks in the new Doctor Who series are Chock Full O' Not So Different moments.
    • In "Dalek", the Metaltron initially points out that, being the last of their respective races, it and the Doctor are "the same." The Doctor's reaction starts out in the usual way, but then veers suddenly and shockingly into the Dark Side:
      The Doctor: We're not the same! I'm not—no. Wait. Maybe we are. You're right, yeah, okay. You've got a point. Because I know what to do. I know what should happen. I know what you deserve.
      He moves toward the torture machine's control panel and gives the Dalek a big smile.
      The Doctor: Exterminate!
    • Near the end of the episode, it again notes that "You would make a good Dalek," which this time has the usual effect of making the Doctor realize how close he's come to crossing the line.
    • In Boom Town, the Doctor deconstructs Blon's Pet the Dog moment, explaining that it is nothing more than an emotional crutch to help her live with the multitude she has killed. She replies that she expects a killer like him would understand that.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", the Emperor Dalek repeatedly taunts the Doctor by describing him as "The Great Exterminator", after the Doctor threatens to use a machine to destroy the Daleks along with all life on Earth. And then later, once Rose has absorbed the heart of the TARDIS and uses it to, well, exterminate the Daleks, the Emperor says, "I will not die!" Fully five years later, none other than Rassilon himself, the Lord President and very architect of Time Lord society, now turned into a vengeful Omnicidal Maniac, says the exact same thing. Under similar duress, too!
    • In "Journey's End", Davros notes how the Doctor turns his companions into weapons, and wonders how many have "died in his name" (cue flashback) before proclaiming he has shown the Doctor "himself".
      Davros: I made the Daleks, Doctor. You made this.
    • And The God Complex
    The Doctor: [The prison] drift through space. Snatches people with belief systems. It converts the peoples fate into food for the creature. Acording to the info-recorder, the program developed glitches, got stuck on the same setting.
    Amy: What is it saying?
    The Doctor: [Translating the Minatour] An ancient creature, drenched in the blood of the innocent. Drifting in space through an ever-shifting maze. Such a creature... Death would be a gift. [To the Minatour] Then accept it. And sleep well. [The Miatour grunts its final words, stopping the Doctor cold in his track] ... I wasn't talking about myself.
    • "The Pandorica Opens" ratchets this trope up several notches by punking the audience with this trope. The spine-chilling way note  the Shrouded in Myth, He Who Must Not Be Named monster inside the Pandorica is described makes it sound like an absolutely amazing Doctor Who villain. The thing it's describing? It's the Doctor. Completely accurately described, too.
    • In their lead up to the 40th anniversary, Big Finish produced a trilogy of audio dramas, Big Finish Doctor Who 047 Omega, Big Finish Doctor Who 048 Davros, and Big Finish Doctor Who 049 Master, to show how the Doctor and these villains were not so different. This is really emphasised in Master, with The Reveal that the Doctor made a deal with Death while a child so his memories of a murder he committed would go to his friend, which turned the Master evil. Of course, the show gives us the real story of what makes the Master who he is and it's quite different.
    • The trend of the Doctor getting positively scary when faced with Daleks returns in "Into the Dalek." The short version is, a Dalek claims to have made a Heel-Face Turn after seeing the wonders of the universe and that life can never be exterminated. Turns out the Dalek is damaged, dying. The Doctor fixes "Rusty," but it turns out that he also fixed the tech that helps keep Daleks "pure." Cue rampage. So the Doctor tries to make Rsusty as he was, by giving him some of his own memories. It's all well and good... until he gets to the Doctor's own memories of and feelings about the Daleks. This sends Rusty on a spree of blasting the other Daleks; it's unlike a normal Dalek rampage purely in terms of who he's targeting. Not a thing about the beauty of the universe or sanctity of life, it's "THE DALEKS ARE EVIL! THE DALEKS MUST BE EXTERMINATED!" At the end, the Doctor laments the outcome; he doesn't like the fact that there's that kind of hatred in him, and he'd also hoped Rusty could truly be good. Rusty tells him, "I am not a good Dalek. You are a good Dalek." It's of course, not the first time he's heard that.
  • Parodied in the Red Dwarf episode "Angels and Demons" in which Cat and Rimmer refuse to believe they are like their sandal-wearing-hippie-mystic Good Twins while Lister insists that his Evil Twin is no part of him.
    High Rimmer: philosophy, poetry, music, and study. That is how we spend our time. Trying to expand our minds and unlock our full potential in the service of humankind.
    Rimmer: What a pair of losers!
    • Also, in Red Dwarf, the last episode in season one called "Me2" involves Rimmer (a holographic projection) having a duplicate copy of himself. They are exactly alike (same disk), but they eventually get into intense arguments and claim the other one is mentally ill and ugly among other things, even dragging their mother into it. Lister finds this quite humourous.
    • Inverted in the novelization, where the new copy makes a point that they are different, despite coming from the same disc; namely, original Rimmer has changed since originally revived and became soft.
    • The episode "Epideme" has the Epideme virus point out that, in killing Lister to prolong his life, he's not so different from how Lister is willing to have a chicken killed to provide the food which will prolong his life. Lister's rebuttal is along the lines that as a human, he likes to think he has certain qualities that elevate him above poultry.
    • "Balance of Power" from Series 1 has Lister starting to act like Rimmer because Lister is trying to pass an exam to elevate him above Rimmer in the ranking system on board ship.
    Rimmer: You always become the thing you hate the most. Look at you Lister! Obnoxious, ruthless, single minded, insensitive... you're more like me than I am.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • This comes up often between Buffy and Faith (and Buffy and Angelus, and Buffy and Dracula for that matter)...
    • And, one that's sadly never pointed out, Willow and Faith. Both had pretty shitty lives (although Faith's is implied to be far worse), gained new, amazing abilities which they began to abuse, causing problems. After a great trauma they turned evil, trying to kill Buffy and end the world (or, in Faith's case, do whatever the Mayor was trying to do). They were both brought down by someone showing compassion when they really didn't deserve it, leaving everyone they knew for a while and then returning in Season 7 with more control over themselves, but distrusted. One wonders what they talked about during that car ride.
    • Spike is constantly telling Buffy this in Season 6, and while Buffy always angrily denies the idea it's clear she also secretly believes him, fueling her decision to have a torrid affair with Spike. However it turns out there are differences between them, and this is a major reason why their relationship never works.
    • I love when Giles / Ripper and his friend from his bad days "Ethan" go for a drink together, Giles falling back into his London East End-accent with him (like you do with old friends), getting totally sloshed and bonding over old times. I guess this is a case of they used to be similar, then Giles moved on (a lot), now Ethan is reminding him that underneath, there are still old similarities! And yes, fellow fans, the best moment in that is.... when Ethan pretends he's just slipped poison in Giles's drink. Scary music... tense moment... and then they piss themselves with laughter, as Ethan screams: "Just kidding!!" That's some good genuine sounding laughter.
    • There are also fairly interesting similarities between Willow and Warren. For instance, they both started off as nerdy teens, but were driven towards dark pragmatism by the desire for power. Also, none of them were above using magic to make a girl stay with them.
    • When a spell went off showing an individual's worst fears, Amy's was shown to be her mother.
  • ... and between Xena and Callisto, and Xena and Ares as well, of Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • The fourth season episode of The 4400 "No Exit" shows several of the main characters locked up in the NTAC building, including Jordan Collier and Tom Baldwin. After it is revealed that the lockup is only the result of one of the NTAC agents having an ability due to a previous injection of promicin, and was created as a collective dream in order to promote cooperation between the Collier followers and NTAC, Collier and Baldwin are forced to work together and the ordeal convince both of them that there is common ground between them. However, Baldwin still keeps his stance against Collier and vows to catch him.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Scientific Method", one of the alien scientists using the ship's crew as guinea pigs tells Janeway that they are very similar in their need to protect their people. Needless to say, Janeway disagrees. In "Nothing Human", The Doctor creates a holographic program of famous Cardassian Doctor Crell Moset (with all of his memories and skills) to save B'Elanna's life. It turns out this doctor was a horrific war criminal. Regardless, The Doctor still uses him and his knowledge to save B'Elanna' life. Later he decided to erase the program, unable to justify keeping it. Leading to this exchange:
    Crell Moset: "You can erase my program Doctor, but you can never change the fact that you've already used some of my research. Where was your conscience when B'Elanna was dying on that table? Ethics, Morality, conscience; funny how they all go out the airlock when we need something. Are you and I really so different?"
    • In the original series episode "Balance of Terror", the defeated Romulan Commander says that he and Kirk "are of a kind", just before blowing himself up.
    • From the same series, Kor from "Errand Of Mercy" holds the same view to Kirk. Heck, Kor even says the same thing about Starfleet, saying that underneath the ideological differences, they're not that much different from the Klingon Empire. Ironically, Ayelborne, the Organian Elder, later turns this on its head by saying that these same attributes could lead Starfleet and the Klingon Empire into being allies.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Chase" ended with the same overture. A Klingon, Cardassian, Romulan, and human (Picard) deploy to an unknown planet to solve a puzzle there. While the delegations have their stand off, a hologram of an ancient humanoid revealed herself as the common progenitor of all four races. The Klingons and Cardassians rejected the message due to their own prejudices (the Cardassian captain being disgusted by the idea that their species could even be slightly related to Klingons), but the Romulan captain seemed moved by it, suggesting to Picard before his ship departs that, "One day..." [there may be peace].
    • In continuation of DS9's look at the Federation, one character begins to compare the federation with the borg as they (at least according to him) are both assimilating other cultures so they can grow and learn.
    • Quark in The Siege of AR-558 notes that when put to it humans are as savage as Klingons. Nog replies that under the circumstances that is not necessarily a bad thing.
      • In Soldiers of the Empire we see Klingon Warriors up close and find that under their swagger they grumble about what a miserable job soldiering is as much as humans do.
      • Our actual first look at a "common Klingon soldier" came with the TNG episode "A Matter of Honor", when Riker spends some time aboard a Klingon cruiser. In addition to showing he's able to fit in among them, he also notes that your average Klingon is at the core just trying to get through the day; they have goals, desires, personalities, even issues.
      • It is less explicit (no-one actually points it out), but The Siege of AR-558 shows that when really put to it, Ferengi can be as savage as humans.
    • Kira pulls it on the Cardassian Legate Damar towards the end of the series, comparing the Founders' sacking of Cardassia to the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.
  • In American Gothic, one hero (The Chosen One, of sorts) has to tell another (his Spirit Advisor) that she is Not So Different: in "The Plague Sower", having gone too far in her desire for vengeance and justice, Merlyn uses her angelic powers to curse Trinity with an almost Biblical plague, only relenting when she is made to see how her either-or mentality and harsh, murderous methods make her no better than Buck.
  • Dr. Foreman and Dr. House — Foreman eventually quits House's team to save himself from becoming like House, unaware that he already is like him and always has been. In season 4, he proves once and for all that it is irrevocable:
    Cuddy: You're House Lite now. The only administrator that will touch you is the one who hired House Classic. [indicates self]
    • There are a number of hints that House and Cameron are not so different, particularly in the first three seasons. One memorable example includes this exchange, during the two-part episode wherein Foreman gets infected with a fatal disease, the first symptom of which is euphoria: "Do I seem happy to you?" "Never." Nothing remarkable about that... except that it's House telling Cameron she never seems happy. From Cameron's end, we have her insistence that House is better than he gives himself credit for being.
  • While they are sometimes great guys, if a little arrogant and condescending (and having proved useless at stopping their cousins), the Tok'ra of Stargate SG-1 are occasionally accused of not being that different from the Goa'uld. Given that their progenitor was a good Goa'uld it would appear it is possible for Goa'uld to not be inherently evil, and some are far less grandiose and insane than the others. On the other side of things the Tok'ra are different as they take hosts only with permission and live in a symbiosis with those hosts. At least that's the idea. A couple of instances where a Tok'ra took a host unwillingly (although that was possibly a misunderstanding) and dominated their host and took action without their permission (deliberate) suggest there might be some truth to the accusations. Really the Tok'ra are like when a government claims it is introducing extraordinarily harsh measures which 'shall only very rarely be used' in that they still have the potential to Kick the Dog like the Goa'uld and sometimes do so. Despite this the Tok'ra get very upset if someone should make the comparison, as if someone should be able to tell the good snake parasites from the bad ones on sight, even though Goa'uld can fake being in true symbiosis with their hosts as well.
    • There's also the fact that the Tok'ra tend to select hosts from relatively backward worlds to minimise the influence of the host over the symbiont. So while they do only choose willing hosts, they clearly prefer partnerships in which the symbiont wears the trousers
    • When O'Neill confronts Kinsey in his home, he finds proof that Kinsey has been working with the NID, a corrupt paramilitary group seeking to obtain alien technology by any means necessary. When Jack is disgusted by Kinsey claiming to be righteous and then "jumping in bed with NID", Kinsey cuts him off with "judge not lest ye be judged". Considering Jack is at that moment working with Maybourne, who is ex-NID... It's also not the last time SG-1 had to work with enemies to defeat an even bigger threat. Also, Maybourne proves that he can become a better man. Kinsey stays a Jerkass.
    • The Road Not Taken: Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter went into a disposable alternate universe. Since Anubis' attack on Earth, this alternate universe is a cruel unmasked world. Considering that the "original" universe's Stargate Program was a large black budget expense in a "republic", expect We Can Rule Together and Not So Different speeches. Samantha Carter saves alternate Area51 from the Ori. There is no indication about the Character Alignment of the Ori in the disposable alternate universe. Then, Samantha Carter got home.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis episode "Common Ground", the newly-introduced Todd comments that Sheppard is more like a Wraith than he thinks, but it's strongly implied that this was meant to be a compliment.
    • Makes sense that it would be a compliment. The Wraith are villains mostly because they happened to evolve so that sentient life is their only food source. True, they don't make much effort to amend that, but most of their evil is necessary if they don't want to die out. Todd points this out later on, in fact. Even though they do kill, it's to survive. Also, Wraith are smarter than humans and have better technology. (Atlantis is Ancient, it doesn't count.) So what Todd is saying is probably either that Sheppard is good at surviving, smart for a human, or both. What he probably meant is that Sheppard is smart enough to figure out what's going to help him survive, and escape even if it means killing the guards.
    • The Wraith Michael also says this to Teyla and Ronon. Similarly he doesn't seem to be insulting them, just telling them the facts. Teyla insists they are nothing alike, but is unable to prove why. Ronon on the other hand seems to be aware of it, and hates Michael anyway.
  • Character Development and backstory have combined to make this the case between Humanity and the Cylons in the new Battlestar Galactica. Many of the Cylons have come to realize they are no better than humanity, and are in fact very human indeed. Humanity had slowly come around to the point where most of the main cast acknowledge the Cylons are people too, though the process on their end is hampered by the Cylons whole killed 20 billion people thing which makes it easier for people to deny the similarities- admittedly, they may have a point. This leads to a great deal of trouble when most of the main group are forced to acknowledge this trope, they needed to or they would both die essentially, but a great many cannot get past the aforementioned stumbling block for obvious reasons.
  • In the 30 Rock episode "Generalissimo," Jack Donaghy confronts a Mexican soap-opera actor who's on-screen evil is biasing Jack's Puerto Rican girlfriend's grandmother against him. The actor, Hector Moreda, looks exactly like him (and is played by none other than Alec Baldwin). As they discuss the fate of El Generalissimo, the swarthy, mustachio'd Hector points out to Jack that "We're not so different, you and I".
  • The Twilight Zone probably had a lot of these considering it aired just after World War II and The Korean War during the Cold War. One featured a WW2 Pacific Theater Sociopathic Soldier who was eager for Japanese blood, to the disgust of his battle-weary comrades. One of them points out that the enemy is just as sick of battle as they are (if not more so), but it takes the soldier becoming a Japanese soldier and having his bloodthirsty words parroted back to him for him to get it.
  • A great example of the "That's why I can beat you" outcome is a scene in Blood Ties where the cornered freaked-out vampire (abandoned by its sire) tells Henry that he too is a monster and Henry answers "But I am the monster who is coming out of this alive."
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Francis' wife Piama and his mother Lois hate each other, though they are almost exactly the same. Both are demanding, controlling and semi-abusive women, and Francis loves Piama with the same passion and single-minded devotion Hal has for Lois.
  • In Firefly, Mal and Simon are more alike than they seem. Both have a tender side though Mal's is buried far deeper. Both can be protective and loyal to the point of fanaticism. And both have an awesome Death Glare(which looks really cool when they are glaring at each other).
    • Its easy to make a case that part of the reason Mal allows Simon and River to stay on the ship at all is because of their similarities. Both Mal and Simon have causes they are willing to fight and die for (freedom in Mal's case, River in Simon's case) and both suffered heavy personal loss for those causes (Mal suffered a complete loss of his ideals and beliefs, while Simon lost his personal fortune and career). And at the end of Serenity, both Mal and Simon have traded their burdens, with Mal willing to fight and die to protect River, and Simon willing to fight and die for justice and to oppose the Alliance's reign.
  • On The Wire, Omar Little, professional drug-dealer-sticker-upper, is cross-examined in court by Amoral Attorney Maury Levy, who defends drug traffickers. When Levy accuses Omar of being a parasite on the illegal drug trade, Omar responds brilliantly:
    Levy: You are amoral. Are you not? You are feeding off the violence and the despair of the drug trade. You are stealing from those who themselves are stealing from the lifeblood of this city. You are a parasite who leaches off....
    Omar: Just like you
    Levy: Excuse me?
    Omar: I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game, right?
    • In a later scene though, Omar gets this handed to him by the Bunk, telling him that for all his affectations of being a man rebelling against a violent system (the drug lords) he's not very different than them (he mostly robs relatively unimportant teens and young men at gunpoint for money/drugs) and has made the area worse by stirring up a hornet's nest every-time he tries to raid a stash-house or get revenge on them.
  • One of the recurring themes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles is how the tactics of the human resistance have come to resemble those of SkyNet and its terminators as their battle gets more and more desperate. One of the most chilling scenes has Sarah repeating Kyle's warning from the first movie, about how the machines will never rest until their target is dead. Meanwhile, the events onscreen show Derek murdering Andy Goode in cold blood.
    • How much the machines are coming to resemble humans in their quest to infiltrate them. Sarah makes note of this at the end of another episode, saying that if machines ever learn to create art or appreciate emotion, then "they won't need to destroy us. They'll be us." While this is happening, we see Cameron doing ballet for no readily apparent reason, while Derek watches, unsure of what to think.
    • Then there's the fact that the machines are not a unified front. There is dissent, and some machines are even willing to ally with La Résistance against SkyNet, including Catherine Weaver.
  • Comes up from time to time in Criminal Minds between unsubs and protagonists, reasonably - typically, any of the B.A.U. troubled any time it does are pointed to the fact that they couldn't very well do their job if they couldn't understand or let themselves think like the people they chase.
  • In the 7th season of 24, both Jonas Hodges and Tony Almeida try to tell Jack Bauer that they're dastardly deeds are very similar to the things Jack has done in his career. That it's true makes it hit home harder.
    • Jason Pillar says this to him as well in the penultimate episode of the show.
  • The sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond provides an unusual example, where the writers either were oblivious to the characters' similarities, or perhaps purposely chose not to highlight them. Marie and her daughter-in-law Debra are almost always at odds with one another and constantly fighting, but if one actually examines their personalities and motivations, they actually have a disturbing amount of things in common. For one thing, they both want complete and total control over Ray's life (Marie is his mother, Debra is his wife) and both seek to punish him whenever he tries to be independent (this is arguably the true reason they fight: they can't both have complete control over him, so their goals are mutually exclusive). They both generally have nasty tempers, and both are rather self-centered. And yet despite these similarities, the show tries to portray Debra as being morally superior to Marie and play Debra for sympathy while castigating Marie as a Monster in Law. The likely reason for this is ratings: as an attractive youngish-to-middle-aged soccer mom, Debra could be more easily portrayed as "relatable" to the Baby Boomers that made up the show's core audience demographics, while Marie—as an elderly woman from the World War II generation—is from a Periphery Demographic that CBS wasn't as keen to try appealing to. Thus the difference in the characters' portrayals. It's an odd example of this trope, because even if the writers were aware of the characters' similarities, it seems that they preferred not to highlight them, so that they could instead play up their rivalry to pander to their core demographic and drive up ratings.
    • This was intentional. The show was built on Alternative Character Interpretation, and allowed the viewers to choose whose side they were on. This in turn generated a huge fanbase, with all different kinds of people rooting for different characters.
  • Farscape has a few examples:
    • John and Crais have a moment together in the episode "Family Ties" where they acknowledge that they have come more or less full circle, with Crais in a cell and realizing how much damage he has done to the protagonists and finally admitting his true motivations for hunting them for so long. It doesn't hurt that they also look like the same species.
    • In the final episode, "Bad Timing", Scorpius forces John to acknowledge that they both use, manipulate, and betray each other, making John admit that he has become much more like Scorpius than he would like to admit. Scorpius has a bad habit of claiming that they both want the same thing and trying to play on John's sympathies to get his help throughout the last two seasons but John is (quite understandably) reticent to accept Scorpius's claims of similarity.
    • In a non-villainous example in the Season 3 episode "Wait For The Wheel". Zhaan (priestess and healer) says to Aeryn (former stormtrooper)
    Don't be afraid to understand yourself. We're not so different as you assume. Violent past, no faith in the future, and then a transformative experience aboard this very ship.
  • Wesley mentions this in regards to Lilah in Angel:
    We were fighting on opposite sides, but it was the same war.
    • In the Season 4 finale:
      Angel: Oh yeah, you eat people!
      Jasmine: Like you never have?
  • Hilariously invoked on an episode of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, when one bully's wish to enlarge his manhood results in him growing a giant, talking penis that can turn people to stone. When the Jerk Ass main character, Todd, confronts the monster penis, it says that they are both connected to the book, though it is merely a servant while Todd could be its master.
    Monster Penis: You and I, we are not so different.
    Todd: Yeah? Well, I'm not a giant dick.
    Monster Penis: Well, some might disagree with that, but that's beside the point.
  • Played with on Dexter, when FBI Agent Lundy notes how his psychological profile of the Trinity Killer describes himself as well. Not only is this an example of a heroic character comparing himself to a villain, Dexter (who himself relates to Trinity) is impressed as well.
  • Burns pulls this on Mash when Trapper and Hawkeye trick Burns into thinking Trapper is taking Burns' side in outing a homosexual patient. Burns says he and Trapper were a lot alike.
  • In Babylon 5 the meeting between "King Arthur" and Delenn in "A Late Delivery From Avalon".
    • It also happens in one episode when Bester and Garibaldi are forced to work together.
  • On May 9th, 2011's The Daily Show, Jon Stewart says that he and Osama bin Laden, of all people, are Not So Different less than three minutes into the show.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy Pierce gives a speech to Jeff about them both trying to avoid loneliness.
  • On Home Improvement, a few moments in the later seasons showed that Jill is not so different from Tim. One recurring plotline involved Jill meddling in other people's business in an effort to solve their problems with disastrous results, which set up this exchange in one episode:
    Jill: "You know what my problem is, I am the kind of person who is so eager to fix things that I don't take my time and they just blow up in my face."
    Randy: "You married the right guy."
  • JAG:
    • In "Scimitar", Commander Lindsey states that in theory, the Iraqi constitution guarantees defendants most of the same rights in a trial that the American constitution does. He goes on to mention that in practice, the courts do pretty much whatever Saddam Hussein tells them to do.
      • Similarly, the way Lt. Austin is kept out of the loop on the secret mission to free Corporal Anderson mirrors the dismissive attitude that the male Iraqi officers have towards Lt. Dumai.
    • In the episode "Baby, It's Cold Outside", Harm uses this trope as a defense tactic. His client is dishonorably discharged black Marine Drill Instructor who pushed his black recruits harder than the whites because he refused to accept their crap and wanted to turn them around into decent young men. When two men died on a force march through a swamp, he plead guilty and faced the consequences of his actions. The prosecutor, intending to put him away for life with the Three Strikes law for a later crime of felony assault, is also a black man who refuses to cut favors for his fellow blacks and sees the parallels between himself and the defendant. The prosecutor agrees to remove the third strike from the mans record in exchange for just two years in jail.
    • In "In Country", Bud bonds with a suspected terrorist in a unusual example of this trope. Both are fans of Star Trek, and Bud uses this to obtain information about an attack.
    • In "When the Bough Breaks", when Bud's recovering from his leg injury, he befriends the Admiral's current girlfriend, a professor of Shakespeare, by noting how several episodes of Star Trek borrow from some of Shakespeare's plays.
  • Person of Interest has the variation where the good guy points out how he is not so much different from a bad guy. If he needed to murder a family, he would have made it look like murder-suicide the same way the hit man did.
    • It happens again when Finch admits to genius hacker Root that they share the same arrogant belief that they're better than everyone else. Unlike Root however, Finch is not a sociopath and therefore submits to With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
  • Slightly played in Warehouse 13 between H.G. Wells and Myka after H.G. has tried to destroy the world
    H.G. "We became friends because we are alike in many ways"
    Myka "Except I didn't want to destroy the world and kill everyone in it"
  • A One Foot in the Grave episode opens with Victor's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Patrick writing a long, vitriolic letter to the Reader's Digest Prize Draw, while his wife asks him if he realises who else they know does things like that. He doesn't. Over the course of the series, it becomes clear that Victor and Patrick have very similar attitudes to the irrational and bizarre things sent to try them. It's just that Patrick considers living next door to Victor to be one of those things.
  • In Psych, Alice Bundy, who attempted to murder all the members of a sorority after a hazing gone wrong resulted in her best friend Doreen's death invokes this to Shawn twice in one episode. In the first, Shawn is trying to sympathize with her, and is unable to even imagine what he would do if Gus ever died. At the end of the episode, she throws this back in Shawn's face, asking him to finish his earlier words and daring him to say that he would've done anything different had it been Gus instead of Doreen. He determinedly avoids the subject.
  • Morgana from Merlin has spent the last three seasons of the show fighting tooth and nail against the tyrannical King Uther. As of season four, would-be ally Queen Annis has told her: "I fear you're more like Uther than you realize."
    Merlin/Morgana:I grew up.
  • Played up to the extreme in the series two finale of Sherlock. During Moriarty and Sherlock's final confrontation at the top of St. Bart's, Sherlock points out that he's more like Moriarty than anyone else in the world, though he admits to being on the good side rather than the bad.
    Sherlock: I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them.
    Moriarty: You're right. You're not ordinary... You're me... You're me. Thank you! Bless you.
  • Hawaii Five-O (the original) had a first season episode involving differences among people protesting for peace that so lived this trope it was even called "Not That Much Different."
  • Walter and Gus in Breaking Bad. To the point where Walter echoes several of Gus' lines over Season 4. The shot of Walt casually discarding his gun in the lab at the end of the season is also similar to the way Gus dropped the bloodied box cutter in the season premiere.
    • And let's not forget the fact that both are willing to use children to get what they want.
    • Also Walt and Skylar, increasingly throughout the series.
    • Walt and Hank, particularly prevalent in Season 5B.
  • Stanton Parish says this to Dr Rosen in the Season 1 Season Finale of Alphas. Both of them manipulate others for their own ends, and both feel those ends are aided by The Masquerade. Rosen points out that he might manipulate people, but he's trying to help them, and subsequently blows the Masquerade open.
  • Used frighteningly well in the Law & Order: SVU episode "Rage". An increasingly frustrated and enraged Stabler has spent the past 24 hours interrogating suspected serial killer Gordon Rickett about a series of child murders. By the end, just before he's released, Rickett utilizes this trope, knowing that he's got Stabler right where he wants him:
    Stabler: You hide [your rage] very well. It's impressive, really, but I know it's there. Gordon, you're kidding yourself if you think you're controlling it. It's controlling you. Every lie you tell to cover your inadequacies, every perceived insult you think you're getting... just feeds it.
    Rickett: You're lecturing me about rage? Are you kidding?
    Stabler: I'm not.
    Rickett: What do you know about controlling anything?
    Stabler: I don't murder people.
    Rickett: Give it time. You say you see something in me. Well, I see something in you, too. You think you control? You can't. You're controlled by your boss, by your job, by your wife, your kids... What would you be if all those controls went away?
    Stabler: ...I'd be you.
  • Predictably occurs whenever Frasier and Niles have a dispute. In one memorable example, Frasier calls Niles out for deceiving Daphne in order to get affection from her, while doing something very similar with his current love interest.
    Frasier: She was also trusting you to tell the truth!
    Niles: Oh, and the difference would be?
    Frasier: Your woman is English!
    Niles: [beat] Frasier, you've lost this one.
    Frasier: I know, I know. It's just going to take a little while to climb down off of this particular high horse.
  • Mose and Suzy Crabgrass of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide were enemies since the series' beginning. In the episode "Best Friends", Mose tries to find a girl that could be her best friend by passing out a questionnaire to see which girls have the most in common with her and are therefore most compatible. At first it seems like Doris, leader of the resident Terrible Trio, answered every question correctly. However, she later admits that she copied all her answers from Suzie, much to Mose's shock and disbelief. Afterward, the two decide to become friends and their animosity is put to rest.
  • A heroic version in the Haven episode "Friend or Faux". Audrey tells the Cornell clone that they're both people who have someone else's memories, but they don't have to let the memories define them. The clone eventually takes this to heart and turns on the original, saving Audrey's life.
  • Once Upon a Time: "We Are Both" was basically an episode detailing why Regina is not so different from her mother. Gold even points it out to her, and the realization that it's true leads her to allow Henry to be taken from her by Charming.
    • Peter Pan tries to invoke this with his son Rumpelstiltskin in order to manipulate him to his side in "Think Lovely Thoughts." Rumpel points out one key difference: Rumpel gave up his son for power and immediately regretted it, and spent the rest of his life trying to find him and make up for it, while Pan never regretted giving up Rumpel for youth.
  • In Arrow, Helena says this to Oliver, despite his insistence that what he does is about justice, not vengeance. (She has a list like his, and breaks a man's neck because "no-one can know my secret", just like Oliver does in the pilot.)
  • Scandal: Becky makes it clear to her boyfriend Huck that she is responsible for shooting the President. When Huck expresses his shock and disgust over this, she retorts that he assassinated 3 world leaders and made it look like heart attacks. She points that she shoots one president and he's suddenly better than her? He's forced to concede that she may have a point there.
  • Net Worth, a Canadian Made-for-TV Movie about the first attempt to form an National Hockey League Players Union, begins with Detroit Red Wings player Ted Lindsay and Toronto Maple Leafs player Jimmy Thomson hating each other and even getting into a brutal fight on the ice. However, it turns out that they share a similar passion for fighting injustice and a willingness to stick their necks out for it. They team up to take on a common enemy, the NHL management, and both get sent to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks as punishment. It ends with them as friendly teammates and Lindsay's friendship with former linemate Gordie Howe ending because Howe rejected the union.
  • In the last episode of Band of Brothers, a surrendering Nazi officer pulls this trope on Major Winters, mentioning that they are both reluctant warriors who love peace even though they are very good at war. Winters silently acknowledges the man's point before accepting the man's surrender.
    • In the same episode, the final speech of a German general to his collected men before they (the German soldiers) are sent back home drives the point home that the German rank-and-file soldiers and the American soldiers aren't all that different after all. The speech the colonel makes could very well have been made by Major Winters to his own men and have meant the same thing: "Men, it's been a long war, it's been a tough war. You've fought bravely, proudly for your country. You're a special group. You've found in one another a bond that exists only in combat, among brothers. You've shared foxholes, held each other in dire moments. You've seen death and suffered together. I'm proud to have served with each and every one of you. You all deserve long and happy lives in peace."
  • Invoked and subverted in The George Lopez Show, when George forbids Carmen from dating Zach, she tries to change his mind by telling him that they're lives are similar, but he still doesn't budge.
    Carmen: His dad's never there for him and his mom's a bitter, old drunk.
    {George slowly turns to Benny)
    George: You ready?
  • The host segments from one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (The Sinister Urge) feature TV's Frank being turned into a mad bomber by watching too many Nineties action movies. He uses this trope, among other action movie cliches, when taunting Mike over the phone.
  • Subverted in Prison Break. Brad Wyatt tells Alexander Mahone this before the latter kills the former. He doesn't get to finish the next sentence.
  • Double Subverted and Played for Drama in the Helix episode "274". When head of security Daniel Aerov shoots a Vector approaching his employer/adoptive father Dr. Hatake, while the Vector is surrendering herself, CDC team leader Alan Farragut is outraged, and works to remove the bullet. He accuses Daniel of panicking, and lectures him on the perils of dehumanizing infectees, while Daniel counters that he made a judgment call and notes, "the only reason you didn't fire that shot is because the gun wasn't in your hand." Alan does eventually fatally shoot a Vector in the head, ironically the same one who he earlier saved, using Daniel's dropped gun, when she, now homicidal due to The Virus, lunges at Alan's Old Flame Julia. Though Daniel used a false equivalence, Alan struggles with how easily he made the decision to kill, particularly since its his job to treat and cure.
  • Invoked in The Bridge when Saga runs through the psychological profile of the Serial Killer for her superior, Hans. This comes into play when he takes a minute to realize she's not talking about herself. She doesn't seem to mind (or notice, really) - though to be fair, they were discussing her when she suddenly brought it up.
  • Season 9 of How I Met Your Mother highlighted one key thing about Ted and the Mother that was similar: both have spent years trying to get over somebody who they thought (incorrectly) was their true love. For Ted, it was Robin whom he's been in love with since the first season and the main reason why all his other relationships failed. For the Mother, it was her boyfriend Max who had died on her 21st birthday (ironically, around the same time Ted had met Robin) and wasn't able to move on in any relationship.
  • On Salem, when asked what the witches want, Cotton Mather replies "The same thing we want. A country of their own."
  • On Game of Thrones, * Tywin Lannister With Ned Stark. Both men proved strong enough and smart enough to win the wars that put their prospective kings on the throne. Both men serve a king with admirable ability, but both fail to protect their king from treachery that gets him killed. Both men also prove less adept at handling the peace they've helped bring about, both men put trust in Littlefinger against advice otherwise, both men are promptly betrayed by Littlefinger and killed at the hands of a Lannister, leaving their preferred candidate for the kingship in trouble. Considering how diametrically opposed the two characters are in their family lives, morality and philosophy of rule, Tywin's Season Four is basically Ned's Season One.
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